Foley Fallout: What We Know Now

Update: Apparently, I overreached and Representative Foley did not break the law.
My apologies.

A look back in time: A Foley Interview on video.

This is what we know at this time in regards to the Foley scandal:

First, let’s look at what did not happen:

* Representative Foley did not have sex with the minor, did not have sex with the young man in the Oval office, did not put him in a high level security position he was not qualified to handle after a major terrorist attack on the country, was not married at the time, did not run a prostitution ring from his apartment, did not turn his back on Congress when he was accused of having sex with a minor, did not run and get re-elected several times in a democratic stronghold after this news broke, Representative Foley no longer sits in Congress, and the page did not disappear and end up dead after an ongoing relationship with Representative Foley.

So the fact that democrats are pointing fingers shows that they are only politicizing this very serious issue.

Second- The Republican leadership did followup with an investigation and Foley lied to them about the extent of his contact with the boy.

Third- Something more needs to be done to protect American youth from the predators in Washington.

The question then is… Did they do enough?

Now, here are a few of the other things we know about the Foley scandal:

* The page had already left Washington DC and was back at home in Louisiana when he recieved the obscene emails and instant messages from Rep. Foley. This does not excuse Foley but is something that is not clear in the media. The Florida Congressman inquired about his well being after Hurricane Katrina and sent other emails that the former page referred to as “sick” – the sexual and criminal ones.

This doesn’t excuse the crime of “sexual internet correspondence with minors” but it is something the media is not explaining well in all of their reports on the story.

* This is how The Buzz at Tampa Bay dot com is explaining why they did not pursue this story further a year ago:

There was nothing overtly sexual in the emails, but we assigned two reporters to find out more. We found the Louisiana page and talked with him. He told us Foley’s request for a photo made him uncomfortable so he never responded, but both he and his parents made clear we could not use his name if we wrote a story. We also found another page who was willing to go on the record, but his experience with Foley was different. He said Foley did send a few emails but never said anything in them that he found inappropriate. We tried to find other pages but had no luck. We spoke with Rep. Alexander, who said the boy’s family didn’t want it pursued, and Foley, who insisted he was merely trying to be friendly and never wanted to make the page uncomfortable.

So, what we had was a set of emails between Foley and a teenager, who wouldn’t go on the record about how those emails made him feel. As we said in today’s paper, our policy is that we don’t make accusations against people using unnamed sources. And given the seriousness of what would be implied in a story, it was critical that we have complete confidence in our sourcing. After much discussion among top editors at the paper, we concluded that the information we had on Foley last November didn’t meet our standard for publication. Evidently, other news organizations felt the same way.

The Louisiana boy’s emails broke into the open last weekend, when a blogger got copies and posted them online. Later that week, on Thursday, a news blog at the website of ABC News followed suit, with the addition of one new fact: Foley’s Democratic opponent, Tim Mahoney, was on the record about the Louisiana boy’s emails and was calling for an investigation. That’s when we wrote our first story, for Friday’s papers.

After ABC News broke the story on its website, someone contacted ABC and provided a detailed email exchange between Foley and at least one other page that was far different from what we had seen before. This was overtly sexual, not something Foley could dismiss as misinterpreted friendliness. That’s what drove Foley to resign on Friday.

What the politicians knew and when they knew it:

The office of House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who earlier said he’d learned about the e-mails only last week, acknowledged that aides referred the matter to the authorities last fall. They said they were only told the messages were “over-friendly.”

Rep. Thomas Reynolds, who heads the House Republican election effort, said Saturday he told Hastert months ago about concerns that a fellow Republican lawmaker, Rep. Mark Foley, had sent inappropriate messages to a teenage boy.

Reynolds, a Republican from New York, is defending himself from Democrats who say he did too little to protect the boy.

Sexual contact with minors is gross and a crime but the fact that the godless party is wanting to make political points out of this won’t play well with the voters who can see right through it.

Republican leaders in the house released a joint statement on Saturday:

House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said at first he had learned only last week about the e-mails Foley sent to a page. Hastert later acknowledged that aides referred the matter to the authorities last fall.

Hastert’s office said, however, it was only aware the e-mails were “over-friendly,” and asked for a review by the House board that oversees pages late last year.

Hastert, Majority Leader John Boehner and Majority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said in a joint statement Saturday that “the improper communications between Congressman Mark Foley and former House congressional pages is unacceptable and abhorrent. It is an obscene breach of trust.”

Republican leaders are creating a page hotline to help protest the COngressional pages in the future:

Republican leaders say it’s their duty to ensure House pages’ safety, and are now creating a toll-free hot line for pages and their families to call to confidentially report any incidents. They also will consider adopting new rules on communications between lawmakers and pages.

The boy who received the e-mails was 16 in the summer of 2005 when he was a House page. After his return home to Louisiana, Foley e-mailed him and asked for a picture.
That request was “sick” and “freaked me out,” the boy said in an e-mail to a colleague in the office of Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-La., who had sponsored the boy in the House.

Macs Mind has a great post on this news including this:

A DOJ friend of mine throws this wrench into the mix. He notes that in DC the age of consent is 16, which at least the cases such in the transcript where it looked consensual, legally there wouldn’t be anything to charge him with.

Say Anything includes this:

First, given information available now, it doesn’t appear as though Foley has broken any laws. The age of consent in Washington D.C. is 16 years old, and apparently Foley never actually had sex with the boy. Also, Foley is not married. He was, as far as the law is concerned, a single man flirting with a young staffer in his office. Not exactly an ethical situation given the boy’s age and that Foley basically manipulated someone who worked for him, but it wasn’t illegal either.

So what, really, could Hastert and Boehner have done? Foley didn’t commit a crime, and the boy’s parents apparently have said that they didn’t want the matter to go any further…so what options would they have been left with?

Not many, as far as I can see.

Hat Tip Larwyn
TigerHawk is more openminded with his take on this story and the Republican leadership’s role in the scandal.
Powerline thinks that a further investigation is ludicrous.
Patterico is looking closely at what Hastert knew and when he knew it.

Update 2: Brit Hume compares the advances of Foley to President Clinton’s sexual escapades in the Oval Office.

Update 3: Clarice Feldman has the background on the democrat and media collusion on the release of this story.

Update 4: Right Wing Nuthouse looks at the latest conspiracy theories.

Update 5: Yep. Wild Bill is definitely on to something!

Update 6: Foleygate- The images are altered!

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